Parents' Guide to

The Case of Hana & Alice

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Compelling, beautifully animated middle school mystery.

Movie NR 2015 100 minutes
The Case of Hana & Alice Poster Image

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Kids say (3):

With absolutely beautiful visuals and a strange yet compelling story that revolves around a middle school mystery, this animated movie is a treasure for audiences of all ages. Drawn in the rotoscoped fashion -- in which artists trace over live-action footage to produce animation that looks more realistic than traditional animation -- The Case of Hana & Alice is so intriguingly lovely to look at that viewers can be forgiven for just gaping and losing track of the story at times. Not that the plot itself is complicated: Most viewers will realize right away that the legend Alice is fed sounds like a bunch of middle school nonsense. The real drama here is seeing two girls become friends as one heals from trauma.

But watching Alice poke around her school and then around the small, lovely town in which she lives is a joy to the eye. The movie's color palette is full of glowing pastels. Even scenes set in everyday locations like a classroom or a pharmacy are gorgeous visual treats. And though the storyline is a slow burn, it doles out its twists judiciously, keeping you hungry for the next one. Alice and Hana soon discover that there are wrinkles to the Judas legend that even the school's students and teachers don't know. As they sleuth together, they grow ever closer and more curious. In between, Hana and Alice drink tea, compete in track and field trials, talk on the phone, and walk around town -- very ordinary activities that are burnished into beauty by animation and care. Judas may or may not be real, but Alice and Hana's friendship is, and watching it grow is this gorgeous movie's most potent pleasure.

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